Case Study

Palmerston North Film Society

The Federation of Film Societies has been holding screenings of classic, new and notable films throughout New Zealand for the past 60 years. For the Palmerston North society, we worked together to create a new online experience to give connoisseurs of cinema encouragement to join as a member.


What does cinema feel like?


We believe that if we get the emotion right, we win the user over. Emotions are a crucial, yet often neglected part of user experiences.

The Palmerston North Film Society site mimics the same dark, moody environment of a cinema. And of course, every image is stretched from edge to edge to create a fully immersive view - because after all, we’re emulating the biggest screens there are.


How do you motivate people to join a film society?

One of the key requirements of this site was to simply attract new members. Some of the main motivators for watching films are the emotions experienced. What else explains why people want to watch a sad or scary movie? Therefore, our strategy was to remind people of all the powerful emotions cinema evokes. We do that by showing a reel of all the greatest visuals in cinema history right on the homepage, immediately engaging the user in a visual language experience.


The aesthetic qualities of celluloid in a browser


These films have an inherent, varied beauty and so we sourced incredible still frames from each screening in the programme.

The programme itself is a full-screen scrolling experience, letting the user move through each film, taking in the big-screen images for every feature.

We went even further and added a bit of movement back onto the stills. Based on detailed, high-resolution scans of common film stocks, we threaded a subtle, moving grain throughout the entire website to bring life and an aesthetic quality usually experienced in the cinema.


Old classics
in new shoes


We used a modern, front-end stack to power this motion-heavy website.

The site is built using Vue.js with many of the animations created using GreenSock. The scroll effects were created based on baptistebriel's smooth-scrolling project. We chose to use Wordpress as an entirely headless CMS to provide flexible content editing to PNFS, while utilising a more contemporary JavaScript frontend.

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